Sunday, March 21, 2010


Another year, another birthday.

Last year, I showered after snowboarding, locked the door, and wrote a hopeful entry about looking forward to good things. This year, I will be slopping up borscht and beef stroganoff at a group dinner.

I won't write about how quickly time flies (very quickly) or wonder about how much I have changed (a little) or reflect on what I have learned (a few tough, suck-tacular lessons).

A few months ago, beset by shaky nerves, I called my cousin for some reassurance. Jack reminded me, in his typical cynical fashion, that good things don't happen to good people. Hard work doesn't equate success. Still, once in awhile, when the stars align, when a good thing finally does congeal, you can smile and be thankful.

Sometimes I forget that these are certainly halcyon times for me. If you asked Sharon in kindergarten, Sharon in middle school and even Sharon in Mongolia where I thought I'd be by the time I was 27, I would not have said that I would be here. But here I am. I have not followed the life plan that I set for myself. I have not accomplished many goals. Much of the time, I am not really sure of anything.

Even so, I've fallen in love with life again, with all of its unpredictable curves. Everything is so beautiful and strange and challenging. I have a new job and the work is interesting and rewarding. The view from the office is breathtaking. I am getting back in touch with my friends. I just bought rutabaga, which I will try to figure out how to prepare. I started reading fiction again; maybe someday, I will even start writing stories again. I am still hopeful, hopeful, hopeful.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

big baby

I'm sitting in the San Jose airport right now. My mom cried before I left, which almost triggered a domino effect of tears. I feel twitchy and sulky. If anyone looks at me too closely, I might just start bawling.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I carried a lot of lofty goals into my vacation. I planned to study Chinese again, assemble cute, tiny clothes for my friend's children, and visit all of those places that I've been meaning to see. As it turns out, when given the chance to do whatever I want, I will choose to stay in bed all day and forego basic hygiene (then again, not a huge deviation from when I was studying). I will watch funny shows and foreign films on my laptop and laugh hysterically to myself and sip whiskey out of a coffee mug at 11 in the morning. If my life was a movie, I'd start to grow a beard and balance beer cans on my gut right about now. Of course, all of this will come to a screeching halt when I start my new job, so I am enjoying it for a couple of days. It feels like a nice privilege.

I left my bed long enough to watch Alice In Wonderland, witness my friend's elaborate wedding proposal (it was a happy ending - she managed to stutter "yes" between sobs), eat warm guava pastries at Tropicana Cafe (, and spend a few days with my grandmother. My grandmother and I made "mantou," which are plain, steamed buns, a staple food in Northern China.

(Our mantou did not look as flawless as the above picture, but you get the idea.)

I stopped by the library and stocked up on reading material and funny movies. Right now, I'm reading The Convalescent by Jessica Anthony. The book is about a short man who sells meat out of a stationary bus. I forgot what it felt like to read for the sake of sheer of enjoyment. I'm falling in love with beautiful words all over again. My head is spinning from word lust. It feels like I am holding a small, smiling secret.